Bangkok EIA Workshop Report now available online

The Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) and Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network  (AECEN) in December 2014 gathered EIA practitioners from government and civil society to discuss EIA policy and practice as a tool for advancing sustainable development. Read about highlights and lessons learned in the project report. http://www.aecen.org/events/environmental-impact-assessment-policy-and-practice-mekong-region-safeguarding-sustainable-de

Presentation to Myanmar MOECAF, September 2014

EIA Presentation

Cambodia – Draft EIA Law for Community Consultation

The draft EIA law is available for public consultation and comment.

Revised Draft Cambodia EIA law Eng 27 Feb 2014 – Clean

 

Extra-territorial obligations Conference at Chulalongkorn University

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“Rights-based governance beyond borders” The role of extraterritorial obligations (ETOs). 

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Co-organized by: the ETO Consortium; MA in International Development Studies (MAIDS) program, Chulalongkorn University; Focus on the Global South; the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development; and the Stockholm Environment Institute 

Background 

Human rights provide a powerful tool for environmentally sustainable development. Many States in South East Asia and elsewhere still interpret their human rights obligations as being applicable only within their own borders. The attempt to ignore extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) and to limit obligations territorially has led to gaps in human rights protection (and environmental protection) in various international political processes including: the lack of human rights regulation and accountability of transnational corporations (TNCs); the absence of human rights accountability of Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), in particular international financial institutions (IFIs); failure to apply human rights law to investment and trade rules, policies and disputes; and the lack of implementation of the duties to protect and fulfill Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) abroad.

These challenges were addressed in 2011 in the “Maastricht Principles on ETOs in the area of ESCRs” that summarized recent developments in international human rights treaty law. Strengthened ETOs will help to safeguard people’s rights in the region – including those of women, peasants, and indigenous communities who are often most at risk. ETOs also articulate clear standards for intergovernmental organizations, UN reform – and the international human rights framework more broadly. They are closely linked to issues on the borderline of environmental law and human rights. They help to redress the growing influence of corporations’ control over national and international governance mechanisms and to defend democratic international rule that respects, protects and fulfills economic, social and cultural human rights.

Cambodia EIA Workshop Mondulkiri 24 July 2014

Cambodia EIA Workshop Mondulkiri July 2014

Fourth Consultative Workshop on Draft EIA, Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Mondulkiri, Cambodia.

 

The Fourth Consultative Workshop on the draft Cambodian Environmental Impact Assessment Law was held at the Emario Mondulkiri Resort in Mondulkiri Province  on the 24 and 25 July 2014. This Consultative Workshop brought together 140 participants from across the provinces as well as NGO representatives and the corporate sector. The Workshop was hosted by Vishnu Law Group and the EIA Department of the Ministry of Environment.

 

The aim of the Workshop was to explain the details of the draft EIA Law and to receive feedback on the draft law. Previous workshops have been held in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

 

The Workshop was opened by His Excellency, the Secretary of State of the Environment Yin Kimsean.

 

Presentations on the draft EIA law were made by the Director of the EIA Department H.E Danh Serey. He took the Workshop through the operative sections of the draft EIA Law. And too questions from the floor, including a number of questions from indigenous groups.

 

Matthew Baird outline the key principles of EIA and mechanisms that can be used to achieve the principles of EIA. The key aim of EIA is to achieve sustainable development and create sustainable societies. Matthew identified the following seven key principles of EIA:

  1. Proponent Bears the Cost of the Application and Assessment;
  2. Public Participation at all stages of the process;
  3. Access to proponent information by civil society and government;
  4. Transparent process;
  5. Best available scientific information;
  6. Clear decision-making;
  7. Effective compliance and enforcement – Environmental Management Plan and Report.

 

Matthew also identified the application of five key mechanisms to achieve principles of EIA. These are:

1               Reliance on participatory approaches;

2               Precautionary principle;

3               Intergenerational Equity;

4               Conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity; and

5               Improved valuation, pricing, and incentive mechanisms.

 

Professor Richard Frankel presented on Transboundary Impact Assessment and the fees and charges for EIA.

 

There will be 2 further workshops looking at the form and contents of the draft EIA Law. It is anticipated that the draft EIA Law will be presented to the Council of Ministers in 2015.

Presentation on Myanmar EIA Laws and Procedures to PEACE Law Academy

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I had the great pleasure of addressing the Peace Law Academy in Mae Sot, Thailand on 276 June 2014. The 40 students from all across Myanmar, are at the Peace Law Academy for a 12 month training program. This program covers many different aspects of legal training, including constitutional law, criminal law and also environmental law. It was a great honour to be able to spend some time with a great group of future leaders.

Public Participation Meeting on Draft EIA law for Cambodia

Workshop on draft EIA Law, Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 2013.

Another public workshop was held by the Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group to consider comments on the draft EIA Law. This was held in Siam Reap from 24 to 26 December 2103. Over 120 participants provided comments and suggestions on the draft EIA Law. For more information on the EIA project see the Vishnu Law Group webpage.

Workshop on draft EIA Law, Siem Reap, Cambodia, December 2013.

Formal Launch of the Asian Judges Network on Environment

President Takehiko Nakao opens the Second Asian Judges Symposium on Environment at the Asian Development Bank headquarters, Dec. 3, 2013. (Photo courtesy ADB)

MANILA, Philippines, December 12, 2013 (ENS) – An Asian Judges Network on Environment has been formally launched in Manila, marking a new stage of cooperation among justices charged with enforcing environmental laws and helping to preserve Asia’s natural capital.

The three-day Second Asian Judges Symposium on Environment held last week drew eminent judges and representatives of courts, environment ministries, prosecutor’s offices, the legal profession, and civil society from the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

The Asian Development Bank hosted the event in partnership with the Supreme Court of Philippines, with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in attendance.

Other partners included the United Nations Environment Program, World Wildlife Fund, United States Agency for International Development, and the Freeland Foundation.

Bank President Takehiko Nakao told symposium participants, “ADB strongly supports the Network because we understand the critical role that Chief Justices and their senior judiciary play in improving environmental enforcement and strengthening the rule of law. This role includes making environmental decisions, developing environmental jurisprudence, and establishing environmental courts. It also includes championing and leading the rest of the legal profession, the law enforcement community, and broader public, toward credible rule of law systems that have integrity and promote environmental justice.”

Nakao said he is encouraged by recent developments to strengthen environmental law enforcement across Asia. “The Chief Justice of Indonesia announced his decree to certify specialist environmental judges and ensure they decide environmental cases,” he said.

“The Chief Justices of Pakistan and Malaysia have established environmental courts and judicial environmental training,” he said. “And the Chief Justices of Vietnam and Sri Lanka have committed to carry the torch forward in terms of the regional vision and national commitments into 2014,” Nakao told the symposium.

Responding to requests from across the region, the bank has established an on-line interface for all Asian Judiciaries to communicate landmark environmental judgments. The site contains the region’s environmental laws and Nakao said it will help “maintain a sense of community between face-to-face meetings.”

The bank has also supported delegations of Asian justices to join globally significant environmental events, including the Rio Conference, the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,” said Nakao.

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